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Primitivity And Instinctual Acceptance In Jack London’s The Call Of The Wild.

1089 words - 5 pages

When we think of civilization, what comes to mind? Some might think of etiquette, compassion, and many other concepts of that nature. These are the things that people have come to accept as proper human behaviors. However, what of our more primitive instincts? Things that are often frowned upon such as pride, gut-instincts, and looking out for ourselves first are some of our most basic human needs. People in the modern world would like to rely more on teamwork and recognition that pride and independence. They prefer to trust logic and scientific reasoning in place of trusting what we believe to be right. They also seem to want us to help everyone around us before we do anything to help ourselves. In London’s The Call of the Wild, primitive nature is not something to be feared and overcome, but rather something to be utilized and fulfilled.
In The Call of the Wild London uses Buck, a half-wolf-half-dog hybrid, as an example of how if we become comfortable with certain aspects of our more natural, primitive mindset, we will truly be able to be free. We will be without a doubt, independent from the restrictions and barriers established by society. This can be shown when Buck has owners who are so encased in modern society and comfort they have no idea how to survive in the wilderness without all of their luxurious belongings. (London 2) Buck was not truly free until he was released from the bonds of human civilization and social norms, ideals, and restrictions. Once his last ties to the human world were severed with his master, John Thorton’s, death, Buck could fully begin to revert back to his true nature.( London 82-84) This is the way he is supposed to be from the beginning. He is not meant to be controlled, manipulated, beaten and trained. He is a wild animal, meant to hunt and roam and do as he pleases.(23) Trying to blend into the life and routine of dogs in the cities of Native village only further suppressed Buck's restitution into the wild. In chapter three, Buck’s instincts take over when he is involved in a skirmish between a group of huskies. (24-25) Buck does extensive damage to the dogs and this is one of the many instances when Buck comes a small bit closer to reverting to more wolf than dog. Later in the book, Buck learns to love killing as he hunts a number of animals such as wolverines, moose, a large bear, and eventually the natives who murdered Thorton.(77-85) This realization comes to signify the complete reverting of buck from dog to wolf, and the beginning of his new life in the wild (Geismar 2). Geismar also gives an example of Bucks already-present wolf nature “on… he pointed his nose at a star and howled long and wolf-like.” Later in the novella, Buck is implied to have copulated with many different wolves, changing some of the genetic characteristics of the species “… the Yeehats noted a change in the breed of timber wolves;…with splashes of brown on head and muzzle…a rift of white … down the chest.” (86)...

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